Ben Whiteman contract at the back of Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe’s mind

The PNE midfielder is in the final year of his contract at Deepdale
Preston North End's Ben Whiteman Preston North End's Ben Whiteman
Preston North End's Ben Whiteman

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe is not thinking about Ben Whiteman’s contract right now.

The crucial midfielder is in the final year of his deal at Deepdale, having been a North End player since January 2021. Whiteman had a hernia operation in early July and has not been seen on the pitch since, with him playing no part in pre-season and still working his way back.

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Whiteman’s return would be a huge boost for the PNE boss, who was also without Robbie Brady, Emil Riis, Ched Evans, Layton Stewart, Calvin Ramsay and Ali McCann at Hillsborough last time out. PNE’s number four was linked with Fulham and Watford last summer, having established himself as an excellent midfielder at Championship level.

North End saw Daniel Johnson leave the club on a free transfer this summer, upon the expiry of his contract. PNE will want to avoid a similar situation unfolding with Whiteman, who cost the club around £1.8million two years ago and is a key player. For now, though, Lowe is putting that to the back of his mind with the transfer window still open.

"That's the least of my worries really," said Lowe. "There are loads of contracted lads coming to their final year aren't there? It'll be a case of working hard and earning a new contract. Ben is not thinking about that now; nor am I. Ben's motive is to get fit and get back into the team. Once he does that, everything takes care of itself. I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason.

“We need new players in signing contracts, rather than players who are already contracted to us at this moment in time. So, our focus is on getting a couple of players through the door. And then, whether it's Christmas or January time or later, we'll sit down with the ones who'll potentially earn one and hopefully they can."

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He added: “There’s been no interest in any of our players, the senior pros. Unless that changes again; some might be on radars - the lads who are not playing. There’s been some interest in the younger pros, so we’ll get them some game-time to go out and play. It’s got to suit all parties though. They can’t go yet until we’re ready."

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